Need a fuzzy feel good story?
The best pandemic-friendly experience for my dog Janis and me is taking long walks in the neighborhood. Every time we venture out something different is going to happen. No walk is the same. One walk in particular warms the heart more than most.
A friend joined Janis and me on an early evening walk. We talked through some heavy stuff and worked through some personal problems as we took time to enjoy the lake views. Janis, my two-year-old Boxer-Lab-Stafford mix, was getting frustrated we wouldn’t let her on the lake of ice even though plenty of people and their dogs were still out there. It was driving her crazy. We weren’t sure how to console her on leash besides continuing to walk and our friend wasn’t used to such long walks so we headed back.
On the way home we took a short street that has a few houses to the North, a park to the South, and it ends at a bike path to the East (gotta love Madison). On the last block, three adorable children pranced over to us. Two of them girls with princess tulle in pinks and purples floating in the air, flouncing with their dancing jog. The other was a sweet boy in stripes and corduroy who seemed to be fuzzy with kindness.
The boy immediately approached Janis with a hand out like his father taught him another day. Janis sat and held her head regally but she dodged his hand when he attempted to pet her. I told him, “Janis prefers it when you rub her chest.”
He smiled, knelt down on the sidewalk, and rubbed Janis’s muscular chest in circles. Non-stop. She sat with softened eyes and her lips dropped like they do on a content boxer-mix.
The eldest was a bit much- like me at that age. She gestured wildly in the air and made grand statements and rhetorical theories.
“Oh! Janis has the most beautiful eyes! Look at her eyes! They are like… magic! Magical gems!”
The boy announced to his sisters, “Janis prefers you rub her chest,” still petting her between the shoulders in front.
Their little sister stood mute in between the two and delivered us surprise faces followed by hands to the mouth. Her sister continued her performance. The sidewalk was her stage.
“I bet if we were in a tail-growing contest, Janis would win. Because she has such a pretty long tail, an elegant long tail, and mine would just be short. Mine might even have a curl. Janis would win for sure! Oh Janis!”
Then I noticed that the boy was standing, his shoe planted right up against Janis’s paw on the sidewalk, his hip at her shoulder. Despite this full contact Janis sat perfectly comfortable and seemed to be understanding her royal status with the talkative princess and her prince brother.
“I think Janis has longer legs than we do. Yep. Her legs are longer.”
My friend was doubled over in silent laughter.
The youngest still in the middle, clapping her hand to her open surprised mouth.
The oldest gesturing widely that Janis is the winner of everything.
That, my friends, is one way to walk home with a smile on your face and heart burning a hole in your jacket. The world is filled with the most beautiful people, all ages, anywhere at any time. And the most beautiful experiences can come from simply welcoming them to say Hello.
May your days have a little magic and joy!
- these photos were not taken at the scene –